About Me

My photo
Matthew Freeman is a Brooklyn based playwright with a BFA from Emerson College. His plays include THE DEATH OF KING ARTHUR, REASONS FOR MOVING, THE GREAT ESCAPE, THE AMERICANS, THE WHITE SWALLOW, AN INTERVIEW WITH THE AUTHOR, THE MOST WONDERFUL LOVE, WHEN IS A CLOCK, GLEE CLUB, THAT OLD SOFT SHOE and BRANDYWINE DISTILLERY FIRE. He served as Assistant Producer and Senior Writer for the live webcast from Times Square on New Year's Eve 2010-2012. As a freelance writer, he has contributed to Gamespy, Premiere, Complex Magazine, Maxim Online, and MTV Magazine. His plays have been published by Playscripts, Inc., New York Theatre Experience, and Samuel French.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Seven Jewish Children - Form

I'm struck by the form of Caryl Churchill's play. A play isn't only its text: what's omitted is essential (the play is brief, undecorated by names, dates, places).

She makes this single staging suggestion:

"No children appear in the play. The speakers are adults, the parents and if you like
other relations of the children. The lines can be shared out in any way you like among
those characters. The characters are different in each small scene as the time and
child are different."
So... what does this betray about her intent? It casts a rather wide net to implicate the behavior of adults, or figures of authority, and leave children out of the onstage mix. But let's give her some credit: doesn't this indict authority more than the citizenry? If the citizenry here can be said to be equated with children.

Or is she saying that parents and relations indoctrinate children into a cycle of violence by remaining silent or arguing for silence?

It feels more like a text to be discussed as such, taken in by individuals, as opposed to a text written to be observed by a roomful of people. A poem in disguise.


Travis Bedard said...

I see where you're coming from on the poetry of the piece, but having seen its effect on people in the room on Friday, I can't discount it's power as performed.

The absence of children on stage in the abstract in interesting, but their absence on stage is palpable.

The bargaining in deciding agreed-upon-truth in the text is something to be dissected, but is almost heartbreaking on stage.

All of which depends on how the presenter breaks down the text.

My breakdown is here: http://is.gd/pJx2

Freeman said...

Travis -

Thanks for sharing your work.

In 6, are those voices overlapping?

Travis Bedard said...

They aren't, I just kept the scenes (as printed) on one page for my readers.